Saturday, December 03, 2011

The more reading formats the merrier

Very interested to see that something I speculated about in an interview seems to have happened: in today's Guardian Review Kathryn Hughes reports that, in the year in which sales of e-books outstripped those of hardbacks, a new industry in the production of beautiful physical books has arisen.

This strikes a resounding chord with me. In the very week that I have asked with great excitement for a Kindle for Christmas, I have also sent off for book-mending materials to mend (among others) the cherished copy of David Copperfield I got for Christmas the year I was eight. In fact it's a very cheap  mass-market copy from Woolworth's, but as I wrote recently its physicality carries important associations for me (and as you can see suffered somewhat during my recent re-reading!)


Hayley N. Jones said...

The most cherished book I own is an anthology of poerty, complete with an elocution guide in the front. It's beautifully bound, in a somewhat faded purple, and contains a personal inscription to my great-grandmother.

I love the aura of old books; quite apart from their beauty, although I do find them visually pleasing. I'd never rule out buying an e-reader at some point in my life, but I get a lot of pleasure from looking at, touching and smelling books, especially those that have been around a lot longer than I have.

Dan Holloway said...

Yes, the luxury physical thing is going from strength to strength, from chapbooks and artisan presses like Blackheath Books to glorious limited editions. We've released limited editions of all our titles at eight cuts gallery and had no problems sellin them (our most spectacular was a stunning handmade, handbound set of 15 chapbooks in hand-dyed, handmade folio that we sold for £100

I think, without going off on a tangent about Derrida, there is something to Derrida's point about counterpressures - the stronger a move to technology, the more a regrowth of the artisan will emerge

Elizabeth Baines said...

Wow,£100! That's very interesting.

Stephen Page said...

Yes, fix that book, and keep it.

Elizabeth Baines said...

I will!